The Kiss of God: Spiritual and Mystical Death in Judaism

The Kiss of God: Spiritual and Mystical Death in Judaism

by Michael Fishbane, M. Fishbane
     
 

The lines of Michael Fishbane's book trace the spiritual face of Judaism in one of its many appearances. Fishbane explores the quest for spiritual perfection in early rabbinic sources and in Jewish philosophy and mysticism. The "kiss of God," a symbol for union with God, and the ritual practices - meditation and performance - connected with it are presented. The book… See more details below

Overview

The lines of Michael Fishbane's book trace the spiritual face of Judaism in one of its many appearances. Fishbane explores the quest for spiritual perfection in early rabbinic sources and in Jewish philosophy and mysticism. The "kiss of God," a symbol for union with God, and the ritual practices - meditation and performance - connected with it are presented. The book identifies a persistent passion for religious perfection, expressed as the love of God unto death itself. The masters of the tradition cultivated this ideal in all periods, in diverse genres, and in different modes. Rabbinic law and midrash, medieval philosophy and mysticism, public and private ritual all contributed to its development. Rooted in the understanding that the spiritual life requires discipline, the sages set up different ladders of ascension. For some, the Law itself was the means of spiritual growth; for others, more private practices were built upon its foundation. But all agreed that the purification of desire and the perfection of the soul offered the hope of personal salvation. None denied the historical redemption of the nation.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Fishbane (Jewish studies, U. of Chicago) explores early rabbinic sources and Jewish philosophy and mysticism to trace the quest for personal salvation through purification of desire and the perfection of the soul. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780295973081
Publisher:
University of Washington Press
Publication date:
10/01/1994
Series:
Essential Articles Ser.
Pages:
156

What People are saying about this

Steven D. Fraade
The work is a blend of scholarly insight into and deep personal engagement with a panoply of Jewish sources that evince a coherent web of religious and psychological themes of love and death. The result is impressive for its clarity of expression, its unencumbered command of a wide range of complex texts and topics, and its intellectual originality and verve.

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